- Serena Cook
A summer stint on the white isle of Ibiza is as much a status symbol for the rich and famous as a fancy car or designer watch.
And as founder and CEO of Deliciously Sorted, a luxury Ibiza concierge company, it’s Serena Cook’s job to ensure that every detail is perfect during their stay.
Cook has made a living out of tuning into the wants and needs of wealthy clients.
“I have to say I do have the most amazing life of anyone I know,” Cook told Business Insider.
“Yes we have lots of famous clients, it’s the nature of the beast really.”
Cook’s firm organises stellar birthday bashes, bohemian weddings, and incredibly fancy holidays for Saudi royals, Russian billionaires, fashion designers, and Hollywood stars who visit Ibiza.
- Shutterstock/Lukasz Janyst
Her client book includes the likes of Johnny Depp, George Clooney, Kim and Kanye West, Naomi Campbell, P Diddy, and Pixie Lott, just to name a few.
Deliciously Sorted has also looked after heiress and socialite Paris Hilton in the past.
Whether it’s getting a VIP table at Pacha, finding a last minute chef for a 70-guest dinner, or booking a yacht for a day exploring Ibiza’s stunning sister island Formentera, it’s Cook’s number that’s on the speed dial of those in the know.
As for how she got into it? She said she was “in the right place at the right time.”
A self-proclaimed foodie and former restaurateur, Cook spent her first “season” in Ibiza in 2002 after setting up the first certified organic restaurant in England.
“It didn’t make any money, it was ahead of its time,” she said. So when a friend offered her a job working as a chef for the summer, she took it, supposedly as a stop gap while she figured out her next career move.
Cook unwittingly became a “fixer.”
“As I was constantly around clients, they were always asking me ‘What’s your favourite restaurant?’ ‘Can you book me a masseur?’ ‘I want a table at Pacha,’ or ‘Can you help me find a villa for next year?'”
Now Cook is in her 17th season and manages a 17-strong team of specialised “fixers” that make up the concierge brand.
She spends April to November in Ibiza, where she lives in the quiet village of Santa Gertrudis with her art dealer fiance.
They spend the remainder of the year in London, or on holiday.
She deals with everything, from booking private jets for Russian billionaires to managing David Guetta’s villa.
There are three strands to the company: concierge – which entails anything from booking private planes to a massage – luxury accommodation – including managing a villa owned by DJ David Guetta – and event planning.
Her team is made up of experts in specific areas of hospitality, including nightlife, holistic therapy, as well as a few who are dedicated just to seeking out the most stunning secluded beaches to visit in Ibiza and Formentera.
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About half of Deliciously Sorted’s clients are British, and a big portion are from the US. “We love Americans because they understand service and are happy to pay for it,” she said.
“We usually look after Russian clients around once a year but there are not many houses in Ibiza that are bling enough for the mega mega Russians to stay in. So they usually choose to stay on yachts.”
Party planning is big business for Deliciously Sorted.
“There is never a dull moment,” Cook said. “This time of year there are often lots of groups of friends all renting out houses so we’ll get calls asking us to throw a dinner party for 70 the next day.”
This summer Cook and her team are throwing a number of themed birthday parties for clients. More than several hundred guests will attend each one, and, naturally, there are some rather elaborate requests.
“For one, there’s talk of getting live camels, but I’m not totally sure if I can get my head around that,” she said. “We would need two ferries from the mainland. This client is very creative [so] they want to spend the same on the decoration as the venue – so for us that’s pure joy!”
Her most bizarre request to date?
“We threw a Cirque du Soleil party and the client wanted dancing bears – I was like, no way! So we had freak acts to stimulate, but I certainly didn’t want dancing bears.”
And the most extravagant?
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“Russians love giving each other roses on birthdays. It was this girl’s 30th birthday and there were no more white roses left on the island, because they had all been given out. So I had to send a private jet to Barcelona to get more. It was crazy when the plane arrived back full of flowers!”
The most glamorous event Cook has organised was a star-studded party to celebrate Riccardo Tisci’s 40th – head designer at Givenchy at the time.
“That was the most stellar guest list we’ve ever seen,” she said. “The whole crowd came – some that had never been to Ibiza before – Madonna, Jared Leto, Orlando Bloom, Justin Bieber.”
She added: “We looked after Kim and Kanye, and hilariously our finance girls didn’t know who they were when a payment came in from them.”
It’s not just newbies to the white isle that call on Cook’s insider knowledge and contacts book.
Ibiza veterans like David Guetta and Pete Tong also use Cook’s services while on the isle.
As does Jade Jagger, the daughter of Mick Jagger, who lives in Ibiza and is also one of Cook’s best friends.
So, what does an average day look like for Cook?
She starts every day by walking her dog in the woods behind her house. “It’s my moment of calm,” she says. Her day is usually split into managing the team in the office in the mornings and PR and networking in the afternoon and evenings.
She arrives at her office at 9.30 a.m.
“I’m a real morning person but life is lighter here, and because we have lots of English clients we gain an hour,” she said.
She’ll work in the office until 2.p.m. catching up with suppliers and department heads.
Next, it’s a networking lunch at one of the island’s stunning restaurants. “So today I’m going to go and have lunch with a favourite client of mine who is checking out tomorrow – it’s very important that I give the personal touch,” she said when we spoke.
One of her favourite places for entertaining clients is El Chiringuito, at Es Cavallet beach below. It’s really not a bad spot for a working lunch.
She also loves Es Torrent, which is popular with seafood lovers.
“They take food so seriously there that when you book you have to tell them what you’d like for your main course because the ingredients is so fresh.”
After lunch, she’ll head to more meetings. When we spoke, she was catching up with the personal assistant of a Saudi prince that the firm looks after. “He arrives in two weeks,” she said. “I’ve personally done the villa myself.”
“The Saudis don’t drink so their summer holiday is very much about making sure the children have horse riding lessons, shopping trips for wives, and they always want 24-hour staff… we’ll have chefs, female butlers for the princess, male for male.”
Below is Casa Delicious, one of the luxury villas where some of her high-profile clientele stay.
- Photo Studio Ibiza
Cook usually gets home about 6p.m.
“I’d love to be tucked up by 9 o’clock but I have to show my face, see clients, and experience what’s new on the island,” she said.
Her favourite place to grab dinner is La Paloma in the north, which serves Bohemian home-cooking. If clients are going out after she’ll recommend Peyotito at Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay in Ses Feixes. “It’s light Mexican food and they do great Margaritas,” she added.
Believe it or not, she doesn’t party.
“One of my secrets to success is that I don’t party – it’s a saving grace,” she said. “I love a glass of wine, but I’m not going to drink that glass during the day, that would make me too tired. I also drive everywhere. But when I go out I’ll have a margarita or two.”
With between 300-400 clients, 35 chefs, 20 nannies, babysitters, and facialists on her books during peak season, Cook’s usually got a lot on her plate.
“I also make sure I get at least seven hours of sleep every night and do yoga twice a week on my rooftop at sunrise. Once a week I’ll get one of our therapists over and have lots of treatments reflexology, cupping, a massage, the works.”
And, occasionally she’ll enjoy the perks of being one of the best connected people on the island.